Thursday, December 28, 2017
Stanford Cardinal Post-Game
TCU – 39, Stanford – 37
DAVID SHAW: First of all, Gary Patterson is a phenomenal football coach. Got an outstanding program. We all kind of knew how this one was going to go. Got two teams that fight and scrap and never quit. It was going to be whoever made the most plays was going to win the game, and that was TCU tonight. Once again, proud of our guys for how we fight. If there’s anything that’s a calling card, that’s what it is; whether we’re up, we’re down, whether we’re playing well, we’re not playing well, we’re going to fight all the way to the end. We did that again tonight. Just didn’t make enough plays and gave up too many plays.
And not taking anything away from TCU. Didn’t play our best game, but we fought all the way to the end.
Very proud of the senior class that’s leaving us, a special group of guys. Special group of guys, and many of you in San Antonio found out this week how fortunate I am to coach these guys and be around these guys and work with these guys. I think our coaches do a great job because it’s not just us telling them what to do and they go do it. We engage with these guys. These guys are brilliant; they’re bright; they’re sharp. We find out their preferences, what they like, and try to help them be the best that they can be. I’m just so proud of these guys both on and off the football field.
Going forward, we’ll see a lot of guys have some decisions to make whether to leave or not, but when I look at what’s coming back, and there’s so much work to do, but I’m so excited, so excited for what we have coming back on this football team, and there’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of things that we can improve and so many areas that we are going to get so much better.
So many guys played tonight. I have a firm belief that when we start next year, you may not recognize them. I think we’re going to make a huge jump, and I think we need to.
But as for tonight, I’m proud of this football team, and I can’t say it enough. I’ll say it again and again and again. To sit there at 1 and 2 and where we were the beginning of the season and fight all the way back to the Pac-12 Championship game and fight really hard against a good TCU football team with all the guys that didn’t suit up tonight and all the guys that got hurt tonight, for us to keep rolling guys out there and make this a battle says a lot about the guys on this football team, says a lot about our mentality, says a lot about what we believe in these young men that they can achieve.
With that, we’ll take questions.
Coach, I believe Justin Reid went out in the second quarter. How much did that contribute to this defeat as far as your defense went?
DAVID SHAW: Well, I don’t think it’s just that because guys went out there and still played well. But not having one of the best players in America at his position is difficult. Being without Alijah Holder who’s playing at such a high level is difficult. Losing Curtis was difficult. Losing Frank Buncom was difficult. So there are a lot of guys that didn’t finish this football game that started and a lot of guys that didn’t even start the football game. But we never used that as an excuse. We coach these guys, we train these guys, and we get them to go out there. We had a lot of guys that showed up in there and actually played really well. You know, there early in the first half we let the quarterback out too many times and we had opportunities to put points on the board, both field goal and running and throwing that we didn’t take advantage of offensively. The lead should have been bigger, but we knew the team was going to come back. We knew we were going to fight back.
We knew Kenny Hill was a special football player who can run but also make some big throws. We didn’t take advantage of every errant throw, but he came back and threw some absolutely beautiful balls. That’s what kind of player he is. He’s streaky, and he got hot.
You guys have senior day, you have final senior practice, but this is really the end for this group. Can you talk about what Harrison and Dave have meant to the program specifically?
DAVID SHAW: Well, for anybody that’s ever been around us, I’m very, very consistent. Some would say boring. But I believe football starts up front. It’s just where it starts. Starting on the defensive side, Harrison, you’re not going to find too many guys that have a season like he just had. He’s phenomenal. The physical strength, the athleticism, just outstanding. Over 100 tackles for an interior defensive lineman just doesn’t happen. That’s all heart, it’s all determination, it’s all effort, and a little weight room strength on top of that.
And David Bright on the offensive side, fifth-year senior captain, we’re going to run the power play, and there’s a significant portion of our offense where we want to run at Dave. Consistent, steady, does what he’s supposed to do, and then when we need him to, oh, put him back out there to tackle and put him back out there to guard.
To have that comfort level in a guy that we don’t have to worry about him that he’s going to get his job done, that he’s going to give everything he’s got, those are the guys you want out front of your program. Those are great examples that you want your young people to follow, both the guys on our football team and our children. These guys are outstanding human beings that are going to accomplish so many things in and out of football in the future.
Coach, if you could talk about the effect the hand-in-dirt injury and the glove had on K.J. and how you feel he handled it tonight?
DAVID SHAW: Yeah, it didn’t seem to bug you too much, did it, K.J.? Played through the ball well. No issues at all, didn’t affect play calling, didn’t affect his play.
J.J., I see the 43 on your arm there. What’s the significance of that?
JJ ARCEGA-WHITESIDE: That’s for our teammate Ryan Beecher. He couldn’t make the trip. Just keep him in you guys’ prayers, but in due time you’ll know why.
Harrison, how do you think your defense played, and especially what did you think of Kenny Hill’s performance?
HARRISON PHILLIPS: You know, I think a lot of us individuals, myself included, really want a lot of those plays back. I can speak for myself, it definitely wasn’t my best performance. Very tough offense to go against. They broke a lot of tendencies.
Kenny Hill is very dynamic. They’re very well-coached. They just made plays, and those long drives, a couple big plays, the game got caught back up to us really quick. I think for right now it’s really important for us as a defense to kind of just look back on the season as a whole and rather not tonight. I know individually I don’t want to just be thinking about the plays. This is what’s going to motivate me all off season, and this is what’s going to be engraved in my brain to help me push further and push harder and run faster. But for right now as a whole, I think we just need to look back at what we did as a defense and the turnovers we made and the way we stick together and the way we dominated the red zone, bent and never broke. We definitely could have played better, and we tip our hats to TCU, but they came with their best game.
K.J., it seems weird in a game where you guys put up 37 points, but did you feel like there were points left out there on the field today, and just where do you think you could have done a little bit better?
K.J. COSTELLO: Absolutely. Coach referred to it early. There was a lot of points left on the board. I felt like there was times we really snatched the momentum, and then there was times where we had the momentum and we let them grab it back. Personally, I mean, there was a lot of throws that I wanted back. At the end of the day, we’re all battling injuries, like Coach said, we had five guys go down on defense. We’re all willing to fight until the end of the game. I don’t think that’s any doubt. But at the end of the day it comes down to execution for us. It’s about us, and it’s a really good feeling when you know you let a game go when it falls back on you. It didn’t have to do with what TCU was personally doing, it was a couple mistakes that we were making at the end of the day, and that’s a really good feeling knowing that heading into the off-season there’s a lot of things we did well. There’s a lot of areas that I’m looking forward to working on in the off-season.
David, I know it’s a really difficult way to go out on your career, but you did contribute to a school record for Christian McCaffrey two years ago and again for Bryce Love tonight. How does that feel, and some thoughts about Bryce Love and his performance in this game.
DAVID BRIGHT: Yeah, I would just say overall you get pretty emotional because it’s all the guys in the locker room, all the guys up here, guys like Coach Shaw and all the coaches that make our team special. But obviously up front we could have played better and seized a few more plays.
Bryce is just a warrior. He really is. All season battling through injuries, and wanted to go out there and play with us. It’s just special and amazing. We love being able to block for him.